Thursday, March 16, 2017

Pantheacon, 2017, Part 4: Sunday

Sunday morning at Pantheacon.

Yes, such things DO occur.

Instead of bounding out of bed like I normally do, I just laid there for a bit and pondered all of the strange and wonderful things that I had seen and done on THURSDAY, FRIDAY and SATURDAY.

It was time to engage the Escape Pile by the door, sneak out on the sleeping Admiral and take up my residence by the fireplace to write up yesterday’s adventures.

When I next woke up I realized that I had been out past midnight for 3 straight nights.

And by this time Karen was awake. So we ordered room service.

You read that right: We did not go to Cafe Ho-Hum and spend $55.00 for two breakfast buffets. Instead we had a lovely breakfast in bed and spent $45.00 (including tip.)

Yep! The mysterious ‘Ho-Hum’ness cannot be contained by the mere dimensions of the restaurant. Room service was significantly cheaper than going down and sitting in the hotel diner. Unbelievable.

You can bet we tested out this result again on Monday morning.

But now it was still Sunday, the last full day of ‘Con. And this meant going to several of the items on the program. Which I hadn’t really done all weekend.
There ARE oasisisies of the old
carpet, if you know where to look

It’s a weird stat, and I’m not particularly proud of it. But every year the majority of things I attend at Pantheacon are Sunday items. Why? Guilt. Admiral Karen and I spend about $1,000 each year on Pcon, between the hotel, registration and laughably astronomical meals at Cafe Ho-Hum. And for most of my time here I am doing everything BUT attending the official program offerings.

So each year on the Sunday I always tell myself to focus, plan, and actually ride-the-rides of the the convention, since I am here, and since I spent so much money for the privilege of being here.

It’s kinda like Church: You attend on Sundays because you’ll feel guilty if you don’t.

And every year I always tell myself: Hey, that was totally cool! Next year I should go to lots more things!

And then, next year, while 100’s of breathtaking offerings are being offered, I will end up writing furiously, wandering the vendor room, napping like a pro, gabbing it up with friends new and old, and partying till all hours.

Adam, keeping it real.
So, note to my presenter friends: If you really want me to attend your thing, get on the Sunday schedule!

At 9am I was on time for Adam Sartwell’s Dowsing 101. Adam is a sensible Vermonster, full of cheerful can-do and yards of practical advice.

Every village in olden days had its dowser, because such things were necessary. They were often persecuted from the higher-ups and the Outsiders, but rarely ever punished. You don’t get rid of your dowser - such things were necessary.

Now I want to get some L-rods and try out some new techniques:
  • Not only finding energy lines, but finding out which way they flow.
  • Checking out power spots at different times of the year.
  • Planting trees to absorb and transform negative energies.

And yes, sometimes the land just flat out says “No”. “Go away”, “Not here” and “You wiggle those sticks at me one more time and I will crack open and swallow you”.

11am found me - well actually 11am did not find me. I was napping.

Afternoon Delights

Lunch was a hurried hot dog from the “we’re not Ho-hum” snack bar. Side dishes included people watching. Ah, you lovely Con Crushes. Just stay over there and be absurdly pretty.
Devin and Jason show off the LARGE PRINT
versions of their latest books.

1:30pm was Devin Hunter’s “Ecstatic Witchcraft” attended by the 5 A’s: Angus, Amanda, Alisa, Ankhira and Antonia, proving that the best letter in the alphabet is the first one. And yep I felt wanting because the end of my name does not nicely self-alliterate with another ‘A’. But “Angusa” sounds like an artisanal sausage, so I was okay with it.

Devin’s bit - besides showing off his skills as a Majorette - was that the thing we’re trying to contact with our witchcraft is our Primal Self, and it is NONVERBAL. So it must be nurtured and brought out via other, older means.
  • Aligning the three souls with the chant: “Serpent rising, owl descend, spider weaving without end….”
  • And a lot of breathwork. We practiced several different Hatha breathing techniques, which was a nice reminder of my super stretchy days and how the mind and body are pretty much one and the same.
  • And then it was time for conscious dancing, the better for our primal selves to communicate to us with Feelings. Various musical styles were tried, and it was fun to see a couple of hundred strangers, of all ages, locales and lifestyles raising and sending energy while boogieing down to a house jam, a samba and a jig.
Ecstatic Witchcraft turned out to be “Gay Yoga” then - conscious breathing followed by disco dance party - whee!!

Okay. We’re picking ‘em off right and left now. Look at me doing the Pantheacon thing. What’s next?
Interior of the White Spring, Glastonbury
(photo from Bridget Neilsen)
Something different! Might as well go with a quiet talk about the White Spring in Glastonbury, considering I was just waxing rhapsodic about it yesterday during MY SHOW.

This turned out to be delightful. Just a happy hippie couple sitting on either side of a small round table, telling tales of communities both seen and unseen.

And one of my more misty memories of my first trip to Glastonbury was confirmed: Inside that Victorian brick longhouse, built into the side of Glastonbury Tor, long before the containment pools retained the everflowing flow, the water just ran all over the floor at about an inch deep.

This was the environment that I witnessed in 1996, and in my hallucinogenic state then I could have sworn I saw it as a sandwich shop by day and a jazz club by night. Turns out I was right!

(Hmmmm…….flat, reflective surfaces, postage-stampial stage, constant white noise of gushing
Dinner first, ladies; then we hoist
the mini red solo cups.
water, hot & wet environment that turns your tuning into shit: The White Spring Jazz Club must have been the WORST place
ever to play live, acoustic music)

At the end of the talk the happy hippie couple, Lisa and Max Goodwin, asperged us all with water from the white spring, and when the chap saw my Chalice Well tattoo he Huzzahed and splashed it a good one.

Evening Frolics

Okay, I hit three out of four time slots today - can I go play now? Yes. But only after you finish your dinner.

Our final group meal of Pantheacon was strictly for the old school Santa Cruz peeps, and we had it at the Sports Bar of the Matrix Card Room Casino. We did have an empty chair though, and this was suddenly filled by a teenager who sat down and then asked us if she could sit down.

We said, a tad condescendingly, “sure”.

And there was clear evidence that this young woman was a WITCH. No, really! She had the cloak, the pentacle necklace and rings, even a short, old-fashioned broom. When the 200-odd years of Craft experience around the table asked her about that, we were told that a witches broom was called a “Besom” (“BEH-sum”) and was indicative of their ability to ‘fly’ during trancework.

We said, a tad condescendingly, “fascinating”.

Our young guest was waiting for her to-go order, but graciously spent this downtime telling us all about HER tradition, and that she has been studying for MONTHS.

Besom, of course, but also check
out the shoes!
We nodded, a tad condescendingly.

Then she proceeded to diagnose each of our ‘problems’ and provide easy magickal remedies for everyone, FREE OF CHARGE. Because that’s what you do when you are a part of her TRADITION.

"For your Fairy problem" She addressed Jon, who, as far as we know, has never been bothered by the Fey, "Don't give them any clothes."

We all looked up at that and she addressed all of us: "That's totally not a Harry Potter thing. It goes WAY BACK."

We glanced at each other and returned to our dinners quietly, without making further eye contact.

Finally her food arrived and she was off, in a swirl of polyester cape and and a flash of teeny besom (“BEH-sum”).

Blessed silence descended upon our smiling table. And then Mykey said, a tad condescendingly, “Was her name ‘Windy’?”

Suite Crawl (Part 3 0f 3)

Okay. It was time to visit the endless doors of Floor #2, and then tally up the scores and crown the winner of the Pretty Hair Twins Posse Hospitality Suite Crawl.
Actual vegetables - but you're going straight
for the red vines, don't lie

We had a good sized posse for this last night and we were focused and disciplined. Barge our way in, scope out the decor, talk to the folks hosting, try the food and drink and then retreat to the hall to huddle and assign the point values. Boom!

And the 2nd floor did not disappoint. Well, sometimes it did, but when it did it was just plain funny.

  • Scoring well was the Fire Family suite, even though there was some serious thunder drumming going on in there.
  • Hanta Yo suffered from minimal decor and no music, but made up for it with scene-stealing friendliness and some homemade white lightning that was a real toe-curler.
  • The Alliance for Inclusive Heathenry had pretty basic food but a center table of mead tasting that garnered them some extra points. Yummmmy!
Other rooms though, ai-yi-yi.
  • Some were just closed, at 7:30pm on Sunday night.
  • One was hosting a ‘cuddle party’ which had all of our posse, Male, Female, Other, Straight, Gay, Try Me, Monogamous, complicated and Poly - ALL of us balking at even entering the suite. Just…...ewww.
  • One didn’t even have a sign on their door. Ooookay!
    Gabbing it up in some room or 'nother
  • And one barred us from entering the suite and also barred us from the HALLWAY......resulting in the first ever negative score for a suite crawl suite.

The top three of the 2nd floor were
  • former winners the ADF Druid room, who had really tasty food, 
  • The Sisterhood of Avalon had wonderful music and were super friendly, 
  • But the winner of the floor was clearly Strong Roots & Wide Branches, who scored off the charts on decor by having something like 57 altars set up. They also were actively Priestxing, providing necessary care for any and all who needed it. Walking the Talk wins the floor.
late night awesomeness in the Hexenfest room
The overall winner of the 2017 Suite Crawl though, by the thinnest of margins, was Black Rose Witchcraft who scored near the top in every single category. Well done, Black Rose! Our first back-to-back winner!

And for the other 33 suites, better luck next year. (One can, of course, assist your luck by having music and by ramping up on the food and decor. Also, next year we will have a new category: Public Bathroom. Fair warning has hereby been given.)

All evening, as we zig-zagged our way down the 2nd floor hallway, we heard people trying to explain the endless, aborted Journey of Ra rite from the night before. Emotions ranged from Wonder to Shell-shocked, but the audiences for these storytellers were riveted. 24 hours later, a legend has been born.

We finished the official Crawl at 10pm, but momentum sent us rocketing back to the greatest hits of the Suites. By midnight the sodden remainders of the posse had washed up on the friendly shores of the Hexenfest room, where we held a couch down and just acted shallow and lecherous for a bit.

We’d earned it.
Wish your voice to be heard? Miss the Green Fairy Party?
Wonder why Jenya and Jason didn't get to present anything?
Want Pagan Humor at a humane hour in one of the
big rooms? Just go HERE and let 'em know!

Monday morning brought another round of room-service-that-was-cheaper-than-going-to-cafe-ho-hum-wait-what, and then the sobering news that Highway 17 back to Santa Cruz was impassable for awhile.

Soooooo, after we packed the car in the rain we attended a 9am workshop.

YES. You heard that correctly. After a couple of disappointing experiences many years ago, I gave Monday morning at Pantheacon another chance.

I think it will be a few more years before I try that again.

Waiting for the weather to clear, Karen shows
off her knitting prowess to a new fan.
We made it back over the hill to Santa Cruz without delay, and an hour after we crossed the summit a gigantic redwood thundered down in the rain and closed all four lanes of the highway for a few hours.

But by then I was home, kinda unpacked, and fast asleep.

Napping being, as always, A True Remedy.

Angus McMahan


  1. What went on in the 9AM class?

    In my head it was an hour long discussion about ur-heathenry and how it was informed by the concepts of innagard and utangard.

    1. Well, that sounds more interesting than what actually happened!

  2. Ha, good to read your take on our talk at Pantheacon. We are going again this year - will you be there? Sending good wishes, from one of the happy hippies.

    1. I'll be there! I'll be doing music for the Pan ritual on Saturday night at 9pm, and then my own Pagan Humor show on Sunday at 9pm. Check out a preview!